President Trump has been touring Asia this week, and while there, he met briefly with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of an economic summit in Vietnam. (The two did not have a formal meeting although the possibility of such was raised ahead of the summit.)
Following his interactions with Putin, Trump told reporters that he believed Putin’s insistence that Russia did not meddle in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
Connected to those remarks, he attacked former U.S. intelligence chiefs as “political hacks” for insisting that Russia did, in fact, meddle in the election — and former CIA Director John Brennan has now responded to Trump’s attacks while appearing on CNN this Sunday morning.
— State of the Union (@CNNSotu) November 12, 2017
He told host Jake Tapper of Trump’s attacks:
‘Well first of all he was referring to us as political hacks because he was trying to delegitimize the intelligence community assessment that was done. ‘
As he went on to explain, even though Trump attacked him, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, and former FBI Director James Comey, none of them even wrote the public January 2017 assessment of Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
He told Tapper:
‘Jim Clapper, James Comey, and John Brennan did not write that assessment. It was written by the professional intelligence officers and law enforcement officers of this great country.’
Indeed, with Brennan’s remarks in mind, Trump’s repeated insistence that the U.S. intelligence community’s assessment of Russian meddling in U.S. elections is wrong isn’t just an attack on past intelligence chiefs; rather, it’s an attack on the legitimacy of our entire system.
Brennan went on, adding:
‘Secondly, I feel very honored to be associated with Jim Clapper and Jim Comey in the same category, and considering the source of that criticism, I consider that criticism a badge of honor.’
Brennan added one last remark, saying that “to impugn the character of somebody like Jim Clapper on Veterans Day, who has dedicated so much of his life to this country — I just find that outrageous, and it’s something that I think Mr. Trump should be ashamed of, but it doesn’t seem as though [for] anything he does he feels any shame whatsoever.”
Indeed, Brennan is correct in his assertion that Trump doesn’t feel any shame for any of his actions, ever.
This isn’t the first time that he has sided with the Russians against U.S. intelligence agencies.
For instance, back in May, Trump fired then-FBI Director James Comey, who was leading the Russia investigation at the time, and subsequently accused him of leaking classified information and committing perjury when he did not commit either of those crimes.
Trump’s problem with Comey was that he was accusing him of obstruction of justice — allegations bolstered by Trump’s firing of Comey.
Trump has attacked U.S. intelligence agencies numerous times in the past, accusing them over and over again of conspiring against him.
For example, back in January, he accused the intelligence agencies of purposefully planting false information about his connections to Russia in the press.
He’s made similar allegations since.
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